If you’ve been struggling with your putting, I can take a pretty good guess at the advice you’ve been hearing.
“Keep your head perfectly still.”
“Your stroke should be long and even.”
“You need to fix the shape of your putting motion.”
These tips are all too common . . . and a bit too misleading. I’ve seen a lot of golfers fail to make the improvements they’re capable of just because they’ve latched on to advice like this. Now I’m going to debunk all three of these popular putting myths and teach you three new drills that will finally help you take strokes off of your game.
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Myth #1: You Have to Keep Your Head Still
This is probably the best-known putting advice out there. And it’s not wrong. It’s just over-emphasized.
While it is best to keep your head still as you putt, a little head motion won’t destroy your stroke. Many golfers hear “Don’t move your head!” so frequently that they get the impression any movement will be a disaster. This creates tension in their stroke, and it pulls focus away from a much bigger concern: steadiness in the body.
When you putt, it is far more important to keep your body still. There should be no rotation in your torso, no shifting in your legs, and no extra movement in your arms.
If you’re just now realizing that body movement is a problem you never realized you had, here’s an easy drill to help break the habit.
The steps here are pretty basic.
Set up your putt.
Lift your trail foot, balancing only on the lead foot.
Make your putt, doing your best to stay steady through the stroke.
The only way to stay balanced on that lead foot is to keep your body as still as possible. If you can find your stability in this drill, you’ll have mastered the steadiness you need to finally improve your putting.
Myth #2: You Need a Long, Even Putting Motion
In all fairness, there are golfers who putt with a long, smooth motion where the backstroke and follow-through are the same length.
However, the majority of accomplished golfers put with what I think of as an “authoritative motion.” Their backstroke accounts for about 60 percent of the overall length of the stroke, giving them a shorter follow-through (about 40 percent). The result is that they deliver a little more energy to the golf ball at impact.
Now, to be clear, they are not jabbing or popping the ball. They are simply getting the momentum they need in the backstroke and transferring that energy from the clubhead to the ball.
By contrast, that long, smooth, 50/50 putt you’re used to hearing about doesn’t create that same energy transfer. Instead, you’re more or less pushing the ball forward with the clubface.
If the long stroke has become your go-to habit, here’s a drill that can help you discover a more authoritative motion.
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